James Craig 1st Viscount Craigavon

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Craig, James, 1st Viscount Craigavon (1871–1940). First prime minister of Northern Ireland. Craig, the son of a millionaire whiskey distiller, was elected as Unionist MP for East Down in 1906. With Carson he led the Ulster Unionist resistance to the third Home Rule Bill, using his administrative skill and extensive social connections to organize a mass movement: Carson was the charismatic front-man, Craig the tireless manager. He held junior ministerial office as parliamentary secretary to the Ministry of Pensions (1919–20) and as financial secretary at the Admiralty (1920–1): he influenced the Government of Ireland Act, successfully pressing for a six-county partition scheme. Despite his standing at Westminster, he accepted the premiership of the newly created Northern Ireland in 1921, holding office until his death in 1940. He saw off the IRA challenge to the partition settlement (1921–2), but was unable to address the intractable sectarian and economic problems of the new state. However, Craig had both political imagination and managerial skill. In his later years he was ailing and apparently disengaged from the Northern Irish political scene: the limited powers devolved on Stormont offered little scope to this once resourceful minister.

Alvin Jackson

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Craig, James, 1st Viscount Craigavon (1871–1940) Northern Irish soldier and politician, first prime minister of Northern Ireland (1921–40). An extreme Unionist, he helped Sir Edward Carson to keep the province part of Britain.